Social challenges for welfare society in the context of technological and demographic change
Programos vadovas: dr. Andrius Marcinkevičius
Tirti technologinės ir demografinės kaitos keliamus iššūkius gerovės visuomenės plėtrai Lietuvoje, taip pat identifikuoti socialinės / ekonominės politikos priemones skatinančias gerovės visuomenės kūrimąsi. Spartūs technologiniai pokyčiai (skaitmenizacija, informacinės technologijos, socialinės medijos) transformuoja įvairias visuomenės gyvenimo sritis – darbą, laisvalaikį, vartojimą, gerovės politikų įgyvendinimą, valstybės valdymą ir brėžia naujas takoskyras tarp socialinių grupių, kuria naujas ir gilina įsisenėjusias nelygybes. Lygiagrečiai Lietuvos visuomenėje jau keletą dešimtmečių vykstanti depopuliacija, spartus visuomenės senėjimas yra didžiausi iššūkiai valstybės socialinei ir ekonominei raidai artimiausioje ir ilgalaikėje perspektyvoje. Efektyvus šių iššūkių valdymas, tolimesnės technologinės pažangos ir gerovės visuomenės plėtros užtikrinimas priklauso nuo savalaikio problemų identifikavimo ir inovatyvių sprendimų paieškos bei taikymo įvairiose Lietuvos socialinės ir ekonominės raidos srityse. Atsižvelgiant į Programos aktualumą, jos įgyvendinimo metu bus analizuojamos technologinės ir demografinės kaitos sąsajos su skurdo ir socialinės nelygybės, regionine ir būsto politika, socialinių paslaugų, darbo rinkos poreikiais, užimtumo kokybe, lygiomis galimybėmis ir socialine įtrauktimi, švietimu, o taip pat rengiamos rekomendacijos šioms problemoms spręsti.
Tirti technologinės ir demografinės kaitos keliamus iššūkius gerovės visuomenės plėtrai Lietuvoje, taip pat identifikuoti socialinės / ekonominės politikos priemones, skatinančias gerovės visuomenės kūrimąsi.
- Analizuoti demografinių procesų ir struktūrų pokyčius bei gyventojų politikos atsaką;
- Tirti lygių galimybių įgyvendinimo politikos poveikį socialinių grupių gerovei ir savijautai;
- Tirti teritorines nelygybes ir erdvinį neteisingumą sąlygojančius veiksnius ir jų mažinimo prielaidas;
- Tirti socialinės politikos tvarumo ir atnaujinimo poreikį žvelgiant per gyventojų socialinės apsaugos, pajamų ir turto nelygybės, socialinių paslaugų sistemos aprūpinimo žmogiškaisiais resursais, gyventojųnuostatų kaitos perspektyvas;
- Tirti darbo rinkos pokyčius ir užimtumo kokybę kintančioje aplinkoje.
Roma ethnic group in Lithuania: analysis of the Census 2021 data
Researcher: dr. Daumantas Stumbrys
Duration: 2022 10 27 – 2022 12 31
The aim of this research is to analyse a demographic structure of the Roma group in Lithuania, based on the 2021 Lithuanian population census (momentary monitoring) data. The analysis focuses on gender, age, place of residence, municipality, place of birth, marital status, economic activity and education aspects. In addition, the research presents information about the living conditions of Roma population. The report “Social demographic portrait of Lithuanian Roma: what does the 2021 population census reveal?” was prepared. The research was ordered by the Department of National Minorities under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.
(Not) to Become a Father: Lithuanian Men’s Procreative Behavior and Experiences of Childlessness
Project leader: dr. D. Stumbrys
Project duration: 2022 07 01 – 2024 06 30
Project number: P-MIP-22-286
Project team: dr. Gražina Rapolienė, dr. Margarita Gedvilaitė-Kordušienė, Vaida Tretjakova, dr. Lina Šumskaitė.
Topics of men’s procreative behavior and experiences of childlessness extremely rarely fall into the field of sociological research traditionally focused on women. This tendency is observed in both Lithuanian and foreign research. In Lithuania, several qualitative studies have been conducted on the topic of men’s procreative behavior and paternal identity, but they are not representative and are intended to examine only a few narrow aspects of this research field. There is a lack of data on male fertility both in Lithuania and in other countries. Data on the number and birth order of men’s biological children are not always recorded and are therefore considered inaccurate. The aim of this project is to assess men’s procreative behavior in Lithuania, identify individual, family and socio-cultural factors that determine it, and reveal subjective experiences of male childlessness. The project will use a) publicly available data of the European Social Survey (2018) to determine the population’s attitudes towards childless men; b) representative data of the Generations and Family Survey (2019), which will allow to analyze middle-generation male partnership and childbirth events, procreational desires and intentions, family gender roles; c) and the data of the qualitative study on male childlessness conducted for the first time in Lithuania, which will allow to reveal the subjective experiences of male childlessness. This study will significantly contribute to the knowledge of the phenomenon in Lithuania, as well as to the international scientific discussions. The results of the project are especially important from a practical point of view – when considering pronatalist policy measures aimed at men.
Families of the past: historical demography of the Lithuanian households and families in the middle of the 19th century (FAMPAST)
Project leader: prof. dr. Aušra Maslauskaitė
Project duration: 2021 04 01 – 2024 03 01
Project number: S-MIP-21-29
The project aims to reveal the demographic, spatial, and economic characteristics of households and families in the middle of the 19th century Lithuania. Empirically the project is based on the unique demographic historical dataset derived from the 1847 inventories collected in tsarist Russia.
The outcomes of the project will significantly contribute to the field of the historical family demography, which is still underdeveloped in Lithuania. Moreover, the empirical evidence will make the contribution to the ongoing discussion on the demographic past of the family in the Baltic countries, the links between family nuclearization and modernization.
Inventories represent a very valuable piece of the historical demographic information, as they record personal, demographic data of the household members, their marital or kin relationships with the household head, and the economic characteristics of the households. Inventories were digitalized during the implementation of the international MOSAIC project, but so far, no systematic analysis of the data has been carried out. The format of the data provides the opportunity to apply the advanced techniques of the demographic analysis and to uncover the composition of the households and families, their demographic, economic characteristics, spatial patterns of the households.
The dissemination of the project results includes the publication of the four papers (two papers in the CA/WoS indexed international journals published, one – submitted and one paper published in the Lithuanian journal indexed in the international databases). Three presentations will be made in the international scientific conferences and one in the scientific conference in Lithuania.
Digital inclusion of older people
Project leader: dr. Gražina Rapolienė
Project duration: 2021-09-01 – 2023-11-30
Project number: S-MIP-21-58
Project team: dr. Margarita Gedvilaitė – Kordušienė, Vaida Tretjakova
The project aims to analyze the factors that encourage older people to use modern technologies (Internet, email, Skype, smartphone apps, etc.) and their subjectively perceived impact. We base our analysis on secondary quantitative data, original qualitative study, social exclusion, and social network theories. According to the data analysis from the European Social Survey, the share of older people using ICT has increased 4-fold in the last decade (2010-2020), but as the share of younger ICT users has also grown, the digital inclusion gap between generations widened. The following statistically significant factors of digital inclusion of older people were identified: age, education, place of residence, and access to the Internet at home. The main factor determining the likelihood of older people using the Internet is access to it at home. Older people who do not have this opportunity have very little chance of using the Internet. We divided the difficulties experienced by older ICT users, identified in the original qualitative study (N=45), into three groups: 1) “taming” of technology as a unique system (specific principles of operation, cursor control, touch screens, English and technical language), 2) psychological relationship with an unknown and complex subject – fear, insecurity, the shame of not knowing, experiencing one’s limitations, lack of patience, 3) changes that informants associate with age: decreased motivation to explore innovations, learning difficulties and health problems (decreased finger sensitivity, vision, memory). Comparing the barriers to the use of ICT identified in our study with the findings of other studies, the specificity of Eastern and Central European context emerges: not knowing English, ageist attitudes and possibly insufficient access to the equipment. Although most of the informants started learning to use the first computers at work, the incentives for ICT use are the awareness of the ever-increasing necessity, the will, and the stubbornness to learn alone. Users are motivated by a sense of success, self-pride, easy access to information, open communication, and the ability to cultivate or observe cultural events from home. The results of our study support the suggestion of other researchers (Martín-García et al. 2022; Hill et al. 2015) that ICT training needs to introduce the usefulness of ICT, thereby reducing the fear of technology and its perceived complexity. When starting to use technology, older people can benefit significantly from having a constant mentor or advisor they can turn to for help (often, children or grandchildren take up this role). Qualitative research data showed that informal networks, such as intergenerational family ties, are a favourable medium for older people to overcome technophobia because older people have the opportunity to ask simple questions without the embarrassment of repeating them, and a closer connection allows for the recognition of specific person-centred needs and challenges. Thus, when developing digital literacy programs, essential aspects would be personalization and contextualization (Neves, Mead 2021). Intergenerational networks (children, grandchildren, and other relatives) have the potential to encourage and motivate older people to use technology, but generational differences can pose challenges in passing on skills. Therefore, the development of digital literacy programs that would help the younger generation to transfer knowledge more easily is relevant. These measures would require more precise wording to replace the jargon used in this field. The development of targeted measures for specific groups of older people (e.g. childless, older people living alone, etc.) would be necessary for promoting greater digital inclusion. Three articles in English have been prepared based on the research conducted, and three presentations were given at international events (Intermediate ESA Aging Network and Socio-Gerontechnological Network Conferences). Additionally, two more peer-reviewed articles, two verbal conference presentations, and three articles for media are planned. The results of this study will be helpful for social policymakers and non-governmental organizations, reducing the digital and social exclusion of older people.
Constructing the Well-being of Older People: Empowerment Policy, Monitoring Indicators and the Voice of Older People
Project leader: dr. Jolanta Aidukaitė
Project number: DOTSUT-254; 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0063.
Project duration: 2017 – 2021
Project team: dr. Inga Blažienė, dr. Sarmitė Mikulionienė
The proportion of older people (50+) in society is increasing, but until now they do not receive sufficient attention when assessing the well-being of the country’s population, considering measures to strengthen it, and collecting relevant empirical data to justify actions. The demographic aging of the population poses challenges not only to the fiscal stability of welfare state systems, but also to the effective participation of older people in the labor market and public life. Therefore, it becomes relevant to highlight and strengthen the role of older people in ensuring the sustainability of the welfare state. In order to improve the well-being of older people, the aim of the project is to theoretically and empirically investigate when policies for the well-being of older people are constructed at the level of politicians, practitioners and individuals in modern society, to assess the current state of well-being of older people and to propose innovative indicators of well-being monitoring.
In order to achieve these goals, following tasks are implemented:
- Theoretical substantiation of the links between welfare state development and demographic change (population aging); analysis and evaluation of welfare state models and policy measures in the studied countries by distinguishing measures focused on reducing the social risks of older people and empowering them in defined areas of life.
- Critical evaluation of the existing monitoring indicators of the well-being of older people and conceptual justification and methodological approval of indicators that are less developed to date, in line with international standards.
It is planned that the study will reveal the effectiveness of policies of various types of welfare states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland) in reducing the vulnerability of older people and increasing their full involvement in the labor market and public life. The study will propose guidelines for the development of the existing system of indicators for monitoring the well-being of older people, as well as specific indicators to be included. The project will contribute to strengthening cooperation between researchers, policy makers and implementers.
Loneliness: experience, causes and challenges to social cohesion
Project leader: dr. Margarita Gedvilaitė-Kordušienė
Project duration: 2020 – 2022
Project team: dr. Sarmitė Mikulionienė, dr. Gražina Rapolienė, Vaida Tretjakova, dr. Joana Butėnaitė-Svitkievicz.
Project number: S-LIP-20-23
Loneliness – often termed “an epidemic of the modern society” in the public discourse. Research shows that loneliness has significant impact on individual physical or mental health, increases mortality and has other social costs, i.e. increasing expenses for health care and accommodation in nursing homes. As a consequence of social exclusion, loneliness is usually associated with older people, but research shows that younger age groups experience it as well, for example, in the postcommunist countries even more often than older population in the Western European countries. The indicators of loneliness place Lithuania on the top among the countries of the European Union. The aim of this project is to analyse the scope, factors and experiences of loneliness among young and middle aged population. Based on the data of the European Social Survey and a nationally representative survey, aim is to estimate the prevalence and factors of loneliness in Lithuania. Additionally, a qualitative study will be employed to analyse the conception and experiences of loneliness among young and middle aged people and to investigate challenges to social inclusion they face.
Indoor Living Space Improvement: Smart Habitat for the Elderly (Sheld on)
Project leader: dr. Francisco José Melero.
Project duration: 2017-10-24 – 2022-04-23.
Funding source: European Union, The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), CA16226.
Project team: dr. Sarmitė Mikulionienė, dr. Jolita Junevičienė, Anastasyia Jurkevits.
Until 2050 The number of people aged 65 and over in the EU will increase by 70%, and the number of people over 80 will increase by 170%. This will increase healthcare demand and costs. The integration of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) solutions into homes and improved building design will enable us to live at home and remain active and productive for longer, regardless of cognitive or physical impairments. In order to improve accessibility, functionality and safety at home, at work and in society in general, it is important to apply an interdisciplinary approach to the development of integrated solutions covering ICT, ergonomics, health care (mental and physical), sociological knowledge and the design of buildings and community public spaces. The furniture sector plays an extremely important role. Not only is it an important part of the European economy, it can significantly improve the accessibility of the building environment for older people by integrating ICT solutions, ergonomic design and more fully addressing the health needs of older people.
The project consisted of a science and technology network where relevant actors from the academic, research and industrial sectors used networking tools and activities to a) address the problems of an aging society facing Europe, help reduce research-development-implementation – RDI) duplication of efforts; b) ensure that a wider circle of experts is included in the development of solutions; (c) to help improve the efforts of various research groups.
The aim of this project, SHELD-ON, is to promote the exchange of knowledge and develop a common research agenda for the design and development of multifunctional indoor environments to meet the needs of Europe’s aging population and ensure healthy and safe ageing. Results. The SHELD-ON White Paper was prepared, scientific articles, books, books of abstracts of conference reports, the report “State of the Art Report for Smart Habitat for Older Persons” were published, scientific conferences and seminars were held. A publicly available project page has been created.
Social impact. The social impact of the SHELD-ON project can be conditionally divided into immediate and long-term. The first group includes the following changes:
- Defining the conceptual framework for new industrial value chains.
- Encouraging the participation of small and traditional industries in research and technological initiatives and knowledge sharing between industrial and scientific partners, increasing their innovation capacity and international networking and cooperation.
The long-term social impact is associated with: 1) The project’s contribution to the Europe 2020 strategy for a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy, promoting new sectors such as ICT and traditional sectors such as furniture and related sectors, which represent 3.2% of the total EU employment; 2) reducing the number of people experiencing or at risk of social exclusion; 3) fuller and wider access to scientific publications and data provided by SHELDON helps to accelerate innovation (faster market access = faster growth); involve citizens and the public (increased transparency of the scientific process) and improve the economic performance of industry and strengthen its ability to compete with knowledge.
Elderly living alone: trends, profiles and challenges for intergeneration integration
Project leader: dr. Sarmitė Mikulionienė.
Project duration: 2017-2018
Funding source: Lithuanian Science Council, national research program “Prosperity Society”, project no. GER-001/2017.
Project team: dr. Gražina Rapolienė, dr. Natalija Valavičienė, dr. Margarita Gedvilaitė Kordušienė.
The research project aims to reveal the demographic trends of the group of elderly (60 years and older) living alone in Lithuania, their level of social inclusion, daily life practices, and the risks of becoming socially isolated, isolated and lonely. It is a multidisciplinary study (integrating the knowledge and methodological approaches of demography, sociology, social gerontology and social policy) with a dual purpose: to create new scientific knowledge about people living alone in their 60s. and older persons in Lithuania and propose scientifically based public policy solutions that reduce their social exclusion.
Social impact. Project beneficiaries – practitioners working directly with older people, and the general public (especially elderly people and their relatives, caregivers), educational institutions training relevant specialists, researchers, non-governmental organizations aiming to reduce the exclusion of older people, ministries, policy makers and local for community activists, the results of the project are important because: 1) the concept of social exclusion of the elderly and its aspects was theoretically based; 2) the demographic trends of population aging were described and the welfare indicators of elderly people living alone in Lithuania were analyzed in the national and international context by applying the theoretical perspective of social exclusion; 3) examples of the subjective experience of social inclusion-exclusion of 60+ Lithuanian residents living alone were revealed; 4) a performance evaluation methodology and public policy proposals for the relevant state institutions and NGOs of entities (day care centers for the elderly, nursing homes, community centers, etc.) aiming to strengthen the social inclusion of the elderly were drawn up.